Individuals often take the health of the teeth for granted. In general, people expect to be able to bite, chew, and speak without any discomfort. When the teeth become a source of pain or increased sensitivity, many patients aren’t sure of the cause. There are actually many potential causes of tooth sensitivity. It is important to see an experienced dentist, such as those at Heringer Dentistry, when pain or sensitivity develops, to determine the most probable source of the problem. Our dentists can diagnose the cause of tooth sensitivity and offer restorative dentistry treatments to rebuild the strength and health of the smile.
A common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed tooth roots. Here, we discuss how the roots of a tooth may become exposed, how the condition affects the smile, and what can be done to treat the condition.
Causes of Exposed Tooth Roots
The sensitive nerves of the tooth, as well as the important root structure of the tooth, are protected by stronger dental structures. The roots of a tooth lie beneath the gum line and are protected by a layer of cementum; the pulp of a tooth is surrounded by protective layers of dentin and enamel. This allows patients to perform a full range of oral functions without pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, oral health problems can damage the protective layers of the teeth. When problems are present, the roots of a tooth may become exposed. Below are some common causes of exposed tooth roots:
- Aggressive tooth brushing: Oral hygiene is vital to the overall health of the teeth and gums. Unfortunately, if a person is brushing incorrectly, he or she may be inadvertently harming the teeth. Brushing with excessive force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage the base of the teeth and expose the tooth roots.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding and clenching. This dental habit places an excessive amount of force on the teeth. Patients with bruxism often develop small notches at the base of the teeth, known as abfractions. Abfractions can expose tooth roots.
- Periodontal disease: The most common cause of exposed tooth roots is periodontal disease. When the gum tissues are infected, they may become inflamed. Gradually, the gums will begin to pull up and away from the teeth. This creates periodontal pockets, or a space between the teeth and gum line, that exposes the tooth roots.
When any of these problems are present, patients are likely to develop sensitivity. Sensitivity can manifest as sharp, sudden pain, which is especially common when a person is biting or chewing. Patients who have developed this type of sensitivity should see one of our dentists as soon as possible to discuss treatment.
Treatment for Exposed Tooth Roots
The best way to eliminate tooth sensitivity that is linked to exposed tooth roots is to treat the condition causing the exposure. If the tooth structure has been compromised, we can provide restorative treatments such as tooth-colored fillings or dental crowns. We will also discuss proper oral hygiene techniques and may recommend a custom mouth guard for those patients that suffer from bruxism. When gum disease is causing root exposure, periodontal treatment will be necessary.
Periodontal treatment eliminates infection and promotes the growth of new, healthy gum tissues that will heal around the teeth to close off periodontal pockets. Our dentists will examine each of our patient’s specific cases to determine which of these treatment methods is most appropriate.
Countless people experience tooth sensitivity, but there is no reason to live in pain. If you are suffering from discomfort when you bite or chew, restorative dentistry treatment can help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the treatments offered by our experienced team of dentists at Heringer Dentistry.